8 Benefits of Extracurricular Activities in Grad School - Geneva College
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August 16, 2021

8 Benefits of Extracurricular Activities in Grad School

Community groups, clubs, music ensembles and sports teams – these types of extracurricular activities are common during an undergraduate education, but master’s degree students can also benefit from them. From improved performance to better social skills, participating in extracurricular activities has far-reaching benefits, even for graduate students. Why is it important for students to be involved in extracurricular activities? Here is a closer look at eight benefits of getting involved in extracurricular activities in grad school.

Grad school does not mean you don't have time to get involved in activities outside of your studies. In fact, this can be a rich time of exploring your interests and learning new skills, and participating in extracurriculars has several distinct benefits. Here are eight perks you will enjoy.

  1. Improved Mental Health

All work and no play will make you stressed and overworked. When you participate in extracurricular activities, you can embrace a favorite hobby, learn a new skill and give yourself a chance to take a break from schoolwork. These occasional breaks can improve your academic performance by improving your overall mental health.

In 2019, researchers from the University of British Columbia found that teenagers who participate in extracurricular activities had better mental health. Those who played sports or took part in art had lower anxiety and depression levels and exhibited more optimism and overall satisfaction with their lives. Though this study was specific to teens, the effect extends to college students, including graduate students, as well.

  1. Better Academic Performance

Better mental health leads to improved academic performance. How can participation in extracurricular activities improve the performance of a student? A recent literature review published by Western Kentucky University found that extracurricular involvement improved academic achievement.

Though the reason isn’t fully understood, research clearly shows that students who are involved in extracurricular activities often have higher GPAs and are less likely to drop a class than those who are not. In one study in 2019, Michigan State University surveyed 1,800 freshmen students. They found that those involved in intramural sports earned an average grade point of 3.25 in their first year of college. Those who did not participate scored 3.07 on average. In addition, the athletes were 40% more likely to earn enough credits to move to sophomore status compared to those who did not participate in recreational sports.

Sports are not the only activity that has this impact. A study from Texas A&M University found that it did not matter what type of activity a student was involved in. As long as they got involved and stayed involved, their school performance went up.

  1. Learn Additional Skills

Going to college is about more than just academics, though academics are a big focus of your time. It is also a time when you can learn skills that you take into your career and your adult life. Extracurricular activities give you the chance to do this.

Many college students use their extracurricular activities to learn a new hobby or discover a new passion. Sometimes, that passion turns into a career or side job later in life, Extracurriculars also give students the chance to learn how to work with other people, solve problems, develop leadership skills and improve their creativity. These skills are not something easily learned in a classroom setting, but they have far-reaching benefits in the future.

  1. Make Friends

Graduate school can be lonely and making friends after college can be difficult. Another perk of participating in extracurricular activities is the social aspect. When students participate in activities they enjoy, they have the opportunity to meet and befriend people with similar interests. Those friends often follow students into their careers after graduation, making them invaluable connections during the school year.

  1. Learning Time Management

One thing that keeps some new college students from engaging in extracurriculars is the time commitment these activities require. They may fear that they won’t have time to study if they are on a sports team or balancing a club or volunteer group. However, being involved in activities forces students to learn the valuable skill of time management.

Learning how to manage time well allows one to balance study, work, and fun, a skill that will benefit students well into the future.

  1. Add to Your Resume

Some extracurriculars can beef up your resume. Potential employers want to see work experience, which can be difficult for a recent graduate. However, involvement in clubs, sports teams, and volunteer organizations can show the soft skills and leadership abilities employers are looking for as you seek to build your professional work experience. These activities can fill out a resume while a student is gaining work experience and internship opportunities. When choosing extracurriculars, consider getting involved in activities that could translate into relevant skills on your resume in the future.

  1. Increase Community Involvement

Many activities in college get students out into the local community. Volunteering with social organizations, for example, gives a student the chance to give back while learning skills and improving their social connections. Even creative activities often provide the chance to interact with the local community. This can be helpful in learning to love the people that surround your campus. Community involvement also helps students make connections that can lead to job opportunities and professional network building in the future.

  1. Explore New Ideas and Views

Finally, many extracurricular activities provide the chance to explore new ideas and views that are outside the student’s lived experience. For example, working on a project alongside someone from a different cultural perspective in a casual environment allows a student to learn about that culture in a relaxed way. This broadens the student’s perspective of the world while exposing them to ideas they otherwise may not have connected with.

Explore Graduate Options and Extracurriculars at Geneva College

What are the benefits of joining extracurricular activities? From higher academic performance to learning new ideas and views, you will find the benefits are helpful throughout your academic and professional career. If you are looking for a school with robust options for master’s degree training and a long list of extracurricular activities, consider Geneva College. Reach out today to learn about our graduate programs and to learn what you need to do to start your enrollment application.